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New Approach Uses Immune Cells To Deliver Anti-HIV Medications

Nano-antiretroviral therapy (nano-ART) turns macrophages—one of the very cell types that HIV uses to replicate and spread through the body—into carriers for anti-HIV medications. The approach has the potential to make treatment for HIV easier and more effective.

Training Workshops Boost Approval of Contingency Management

Clinicians associated with the Veterans Administration looked more favorably upon contingency management after attending training workshops on the use of the intervention. Despite being highly effective at decreasing drug use, contingency management is one of the least used among proven substance abuse treatments.

Study: Treat Jail Detainees’ Drug Abuse To Lower HIV Transmission

Active drug use before incarceration was associated with decreased engagement in HIV treatment among HIV-infected jail detainees. The severity of drug dependence correlated with worsening measures of engagement in HIV treatment. The study concludes that evidence-based treatment for drug abuse in jails may result in improved HIV treatment outcomes, which in turn could help slow HIV-transmission rates in the United States.

Microneedle Milestone: One Week of Transdermal Drug Delivery

Microneedles are an innovative technique for delivering medications through the skin, a route that could particularly benefit patients receiving naltrexone therapy for opioid and alcohol dependence. Researchers have found a way to use the transdermal technique to deliver a single treatment of naltrexone that lasts for 7 days.

California Reaped Large Savings by Diverting Drug-Using Offenders Into Treatment

California’s Proposition 36, which allows qualified drug offenders to enter substance use treatment rather than go to jail or prison, saved the state close to $100 million in its first year.

HIV Infection Accelerates Hepatitis C–Related Liver Fibrosis

Study patients with HIV­­–hepatitis C coinfection progressed to successive degrees of severity of liver fibrosis 9 years sooner than those infected with HCV alone. Further findings from the study suggest that suppressing HIV with antiretroviral medications may slow HCV-related liver fibrosis.

Medications That Treat Opioid Addiction Do Not Impair Liver Health

A trial of buprenorphine/naloxone (Bup/Nx) showed no evidence that the medicine was associated with liver damage. The drug gave results similar to those of methadone. The study data indicate that although most patients can be treated safely with either methadone or Bup/Nx without major concern for liver injury, clinicians are advised to continue to monitor the liver health of their patients who are on methadone or Bup/Nx therapy.

Naltrexone Implant Outperforms Daily Pill in Russian Trial

More than half of heroin-addicted patients treated with naltrexone via an implanted delivery device maintained abstinence throughout a 6-month clinical trial in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The implant device, which releases a steady dose of naltrexone continuously for 2 months, averted relapse to heroin use three times as effectively as daily oral doses of the medication.

Oxycodone Vaccine Passes Early Tests

A new vaccine hindered the often-abused prescription opioids oxycodone and hydrocodone from entering the brain and suppressed one of the drugs’ signature central nervous system effects. The findings warrant continued development of the vaccine as a potential aid in the treatment of oxycodone and hydrocodone abuse and dependence.

Receptor May Underlie Gender Differences in Response to Smoking Cessation

Men benefit more than women from nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation because nicotine affects a key neuroreceptor differently in the two sexes, a NIDA-sponsored study suggests. The findings highlight the need for alternative therapies for women smokers, and point to the female hormone progesterone as a potential therapeutic target.

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